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Canada by Car: three road trips through Atlantic Canada

Canada by Car: three road trips through Atlantic Canada

Explore Atlantic Canada on an Eastern Canada road trip that makes the most of the close proximity of neighbouring provinces with some of the world's most scenic drives. Discover local businesses, from family-run restaurants to cute boutiques, as you drive between stunning scenery on one of these quintessential East Coast Canada road trips. Here's everything you need to know before you go. 


Scenic road trip: Halifax to Charlottetown via Saint John


Explore the most picturesque spots on a coastal route between HalifaxExternal Link Title, Saint JohnExternal Link Title and CharlottetownExternal Link Title.

Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia - credit: Nova Scotia Tourism
Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia - credit: Nova Scotia Tourism

Halifax to Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Start your trip in Nova ScotiaExternal Link Title's cosmopolitan capital, HalifaxExternal Link Title. Take a stroll and dine by the Halifax WaterfrontExternal Link Title before driving to your first scenic stop in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old LunenburgExternal Link Title to explore the colourful colonial buildings. 


Drive two hours west to the lush Annapolis ValleyExternal Link Title to indulge in an abundance of cideries and vineyardsExternal Link Title for a day or two. Make time for a visit to the Millbrook Cultural & Heritage CentreExternal Link Title to learn about the culture and history of Millbrook First Nation and the Mi'kmaw people of the area.


Digby to Saint John, New Brunswick

Dig into famous scallops in the charming town of DigbyExternal Link Title, known as "Canada's natural aquariumExternal Link Title" and catch the two-hour ferry to Saint John, New BrunswickExternal Link Title


Spend the night in Saint John External Link Titlebefore taking part in high-octane adventures such as ziplining across the Reversing Falls RapidsExternal Link Title. These rapids are a unique phenomenon caused by the highest tide on earth: twice a day, the powerful tide from the Bay of FundyExternal Link Title roars into the Saint John River, forcing it to change direction. Take advantage of the fast-changing tide to explore the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell RocksExternal Link Title two different ways. When the tide is out, walk on the ocean floor to see the flowerpot rock formations close up (be sure to check the tide table). At high tide, take a guided kayak trip with Baymount Outdoor AdventuresExternal Link Title to paddle where you stood just hours prior!


Moncton to Shediac

Make your way to MonctonExternal Link Title for a taste of New Brunswick local life - pick up locally made cheeses at Les Gourmandes External Link Titleand enjoy as part of a picnic in scenic Centennial Park.  


In ShediacExternal Link Title, the "Lobster capital of the world", stop for a photo with the World's Largest Lobster and savour a lobster roll from Captain Dan's.External Link Title


Charlottetown to North Cape, Prince Edward Island

Cross Canada's longest bridge, the Confederation BridgeExternal Link Title, to reach Prince Edward IslandExternal Link Title. Pick up fresh produce in CharlottetownExternal Link Title for a taste of the island's bounty - on a Saturday, stock up at the Charlottetown Farmers' MarketExternal Link Title


Drive 30 minutes northwest to curl up at Cavendish Beach CottageExternal Link Titles and take some time to explore the fictional home of Canada's favourite redhead, Anne of Green Gables, at Green Gables Heritage PlaceExternal Link Title


Head north to the tip of Prince Edward Island, winding along the red cliffs, to explore the North CapeExternal Link Title and its Black Marsh Nature TrailExternal Link Title, a 5.5-kilometre boardwalk. 


Summerside to Halifax

Heading back towards Halifax, stop in SummersideExternal Link Title to shop for locally made goods at Spinnakers LandingExternal Link Title or relax on the deck with fresh local seafood aplenty. 


Off-the-beaten path road trip: Halifax to Charlottetown via Fredericton


From sea caves and secluded islands to Acadian villages and ancient rock formations, discover the hidden gems of the Bay of Fundy and beyond taking in scenic Nova Scotia drives.

Swallowtail Lighthouse, Grand Manan, New Brunswick
Swallowtail Lighthouse, Grand Manan, New Brunswick - credit: New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Parks

Halifax to Brier Island

Head out of Halifax to take two short ferries from Digby to your first overnight stop: the tranquil Brier IslandExternal Link Title. Stay at the Brier Island LodgeExternal Link Title and enjoy this small island where the friendly fishing community is outnumbered by an abundance of wildlife such as whales and seabirdsExternal Link Title.


Recommended add-on: Grand Manan Island

Return to the mainland to catch the larger ferryExternal Link Title across to New Brunswick where you can add on another island adventure: Grand Manan IslandExternal Link Title. Step into a postcard by staying in a quaint cottage or camp out to photograph puffins (with Sea Watch ToursExternal Link Title in the summer).


St. Martins to Bay of Fundy

Follow the red cliffs of New Brunswick's coastline to discover the sea caves at St. MartinsExternal Link Title on a kayak trip with Red Rock AdventuresExternal Link Title. Spend a few days in Fundy National ParkExternal Link Title to witness the record-breaking 12-metre Bay of Fundy tides as they transform the famous landscape.  


Fredericton to Kouchibouguac National Park

Head inland to spend a night exploring Fredericton. Get a taste of local history and beer on the Capital City Brewery TourExternal Link Title which visits four different breweries and showcases the city's heritage architecture. 

Drive to the Acadian Coast to explore the richness of Kouchibouguac National ParkExternal Link Title. There, the Mi'gmaq and Acadian cultures intertwine with natural wonders including a designated Dark-Sky PreserveExternal Link Title.


Point Prim to Charlottetown via East Point

Cross the Confederation BridgeExternal Link Title to Prince Edward Island to join the Points East Coastal DriveExternal Link Title. Start with a stroll around the Island's oldest lighthouse at Point PrimExternal Link Title. Meander your way to Murray Harbour to stock up on award-winning seafood chowder at Harbourview RestaurantExternal Link Title. Work it off with a swim from the white sand beaches of Panmure IslandExternal Link Title.


Stop at Basin Head Provincial ParkExternal Link Title where the high volume of silica and quartz in the sand makes it "sing" when you walk on it. Continue your journey with a guided tour of East Point LighthouseExternal Link Title to witness two tides meetExternal Link Title.


Wander along the boardwalk at Prince Edward Island National ParkExternal Link Title, where you'll find red cliffs that frame coastal bays and accessible beach areasExternal Link Title. In the summer months, local artist Maurice Bernard runs Sensational SandcastlesExternal Link Title in Malpeque to teach families how to create beautiful sand sculptures. 


Before returning to the mainland, treat yourself to a night in CharlottetownExternal Link Title.


Classic road trip with a twist: Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and Labrador


Step onto a storied land and take in the natural beauty of fjords and other fantastic sights along the rugged east coast of Nova Scotia and the wild west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gros Morne National Park - credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
Gros Morne National Park - credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Halifax to North Sydney

Head to the rugged Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and the historic Sherbrooke Village MuseumExternal Link Title, where a heritage tour takes you back to the 1860s and pay a visit to Port Bickerton LighthouseExternal Link Title as you drive along the coast. 


Stop to enjoy a sip at Authentic Seacoast Distillery & BrewhouseExternal Link Title and learn about the 300-year-old rum heritage of the region. Stay overnight in the majestic seaside SeaWind Country InnExternal Link Title, before heading to North Sydney to catch the ferry to Port aux BasquesExternal Link Title, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Port aux Basques to Gros Morne 

Book a cabinExternal Link Title to get some rest on the seven-hour sail across the Cabot Strait. Upon arrival, explore the grounds of Rose Blanche LighthouseExternal Link Title and check-in at the Lightkeepers Inn B&BExternal Link Title


As you make your way up the western coast of Newfoundland and LabradoExternal Link Titler, discover the picturesque community of Corner BrookExternal Link Title, which is situated at the end of a fjord between the tumultuous Atlantic ocean and Newfoundland's highest mountains, the Long Range. Known as the gateway to Gros Morne National Park and the Humber ValleyExternal Link Title, Corner Brook is also the ideal place to pick up locally made souvenirsExternal Link Title


As you enter the UNESCO Heritage Site of Gros Morne National ParkExternal Link Title the spectacular scenery becomes increasingly dramatic with imposing mountains and deep fjords giving way to beaches, bogs, and barren cliffs. Choose from lakeside flatter hikesExternal Link Title such as the Stanleyville Trail, which takes in an abandoned logging town, or the more intense Lookout Hills Trail for panoramic views. 


Stay the night, or several, in Woody Point to get a taste of local life and cuisine on the Taste of Gros MorneExternal Link Title food tour. 


Recommended add-on: L'Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site

Before returning to continental Canada, make your way north on an epic drive to the tip of the island and L'Anse Aux Meadows National Historic SiteExternal Link Title for a Sagas and Shadows storytelling tourExternal Link Title